For us, a positive licensing experience with genuine cultural alignment is closely linked to our desire to create a strong community, and strong communities help one another.
Fortnum is well known for its collegiate approach that provides opportunities for like-minded financial planning professionals to genuinely share knowledge and experiences, mentoring one another to overcome both business and personal challenges to thrive and succeed.
We have proactively driven this approach since our inception in 2010 and today, our culture is aligned with holistic principles not so common to licensees, but actively embraced by many financial planning practices.
Many businesses allude to a holistic culture, but it’s the doing that’s important. For us, the foundation originates from genuine leadership and values that include a conviction for helping our financial planners to build sustainable financial planning businesses with a client-centric approach while also working alongside them to help them achieve their personal goals.
For many financial planning business owners, barriers to success are more often to do with issues of time, health (physical and mental) and managing people in a constantly and often rapidly changing workplace than their technical competencies.
Indeed, change management is a common cause for concern among financial planning practices too.
All of these matters require different types of support in addition to the equally important advice compliance function offered by every licensee.
We provide this support by working hand in hand with financial planning businesses, we constantly talk to planners, practice managers and support staff to learn about and understand what really matters to them. We combine this with our Business Optimisation Service (BOS) which is delivered through our Practice Engagement and Growth team which provides us with a thorough understanding of where our aligned financial planning businesses need help.
The result is an enhanced licensing experience with direct benefits at the coalface.
We are constantly reviewing and refining our programs and activities to enhance our financial planning practices’ business success and personal satisfaction, which translates to better outcomes for themselves and their clients.
A key example is our understanding of the staffing issues experienced by our practices, so we embarked on a people engagement project to build a program what would help them.
It starts with helping our financial planning practices attract and retain culturally aligned staff who thoroughly understand the purpose, vision, mission and values of their business, and having a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
The program strives to help practices keep staff engaged through various non-financial ways related to reward and recognition, growth and development, lifestyle benefits and other benefits on offer.
My newly created role as Head of Group Culture & Development has allowed me to develop these types of programs for both Fortnum and our financial planning practices.
Fortnum financial planning practices understand that we have a growth mindset and a willingness to share by providing multiple forums for learning from each other.
Our recent conference was a prime example of our collegiate culture where the conference committee (made up of four advisers and a practice general manager) asked not to have a closing keynote speaker. Instead, they wanted a heavier focus on sharing ideas so attendees may learn from their peers, even more than previous years.
Although peer to peer sessions were already a key part of our conference, we added more practical sessions that included multiple opportunities for business discussions and problem solving with one another and a line-up of presenters who explored barriers to business and personal success felt by our practice community and offered solutions. And by that, I mean ‘implementable’ solutions that enhance business function and personal enrichment for financial planners and their teams.
As for enrichment, Fortnum’s definition includes the means for creating a world where people make smart and clear financial decisions that positively impact the whole of their lives.
Our conference is a key part of our Professional Development (PD) program which covers all areas of advice development, business development and personal development. It is a 12-month program which is continually refined using our constant feedback loop with practices.
A new initiative this year is our Practice Support Circle (PSC) which will provide an online community forum for all practice staff to engage with each other and a quarterly online forum where the agenda will be set by those in the PSC.
This is yet another example of our agility and ability to act as a result of constantly listening to our practices to deliver on what they need at all levels of their businesses.
The PSC will operate alongside our industry-leading Professional Year (PY) program.
Of course, having the right people in the right roles with the right knowledge and experience is the key to achieving our cultural and learning goals.
Traci Bartlett, a financial planner for 25 years who owned and operated her own practice, is our Learning & Development Manager who is responsible for our PD, PSC and PY programs.
While meeting regulatory requirements and governance will always be part of a licensee’s function, at Fortnum we’re committed to enhancing the experience beyond licensing so that it serves our financial planning practices in more meaningful ways. We strive to help our planning practices to prosper professionally AND personally and in turn, enable them to enrich their lives, and those of their clients.
At Fortnum, we are known for our caring, energetic approach, adviser-aligned licensee ownership and a highly collaborative community of financial planning practices. We provide freedom within a proven framework which has a robust approach to risk and governance that creates opportunity for financial planners to build their ideal financial planning business.